OUR CARBON AERO BARS ARE FASTER
Many manufacturers claim aero benefits and speed advantages, but not all rigorously test to determine accurate data. FastTT conducted extensive aero testing of our carbon aero bars with independent aero consultancy, SpeedEdge Performance (rebranded to AeroEdge).
The testing was rigorously conducted using the highest academic methodology over several days in Portugal, using several athletes (male and female) in order to gain a wider commonality of results. The purpose of testing was to determine:
- How much faster FastTT aero bars are compared to standard cups and extension poles
- What bar angle would provide the most aerodynamic efficiency (lowest CdA). There are many strongly held beliefs regarding the best bar angle, and many differ. We wanted some accurate data to settle the debate.
In summary, our testing showed a potential saving of 11watts (at 43kph) and 16watts (at 50kph) over standard cups and extension poles. Regarding bar angle, it indicated 10°-15° to be the optimal angle range for our bars. However, results also indicated very little disadvantage with higher bar angles up to 25°, suggesting plenty of scope for personal preference and comfort. Drag increased below 10° and negatively impacted aero performance.
In 2023 the UCI introduced a 30° bar angle limit. Be aware that this is a technical limit and NOT a setup recommendation. We see riders chasing the UCI limit in the false belief that they are following valuable advice...WRONG! The UCI does not give advice so don't mistake this technical rule as such. At 30° your CdA will be worse than at 10°-15° i.e. you will need more power to go the same speed.
For consistency, comparative tests were conducted with riders and bikes set up with exactly the same arm angle and body position, assuring that the bars would be the only differentiating factor. Test bikes were Giant Trinity Advanced (male athlete 45-49 AG) and Cervelo P Series (female #1 Portuguese triathlete).
The test consisted of several 3-4 km runs over two days at a common power (watts) and speed. Approximately 80% of each test segment was used to extract data and perform the analysis because of the data variability at the start and end of each segment. Aerometers and several methodologies to measure aerodynamic drag were used to analyse the different setups. The resulting baseline data was mathematically projected across different race distances and power outputs.
Interestingly, the average heart rate of the male test athlete was 2.75bpm lower at the same power when using the FastTT bars. This is attributed to the fact that he was able to be more relaxed and comfortable in the aero position. Being able to ride in a relaxed position is a major factor on long bike legs where you accumulate large volumes of lactate. Clearing lactate is critical to keep riding at full speed. We use our muscle structure as a lactate sink, distributing lactate to fresh (and relaxed) muscles to aid clearance. The arms and shoulder muscles play a big part in lactate clearance, so if you're holding on tight, your tensed-up arms and shoulders can't be an effective lactate sink.
We believe that not only does the aero-efficient design of our carbon aero bars improve efficiency and speed, but they allow the athlete to ride in a more aggressive (and more aero) position due to enhanced comfort and control. Relaxed shoulders and arms allow the rider to pull in the shoulders and lower the head, which reduces the frontal area and lowers CdA. This is no doubt a contributing factor in our simulated improvements.